Pollinators, Known and Unknown, in the Late Summer Garden

Summer is winding down, but there are still plenty of pollinators in the garden. Here’s a collection of some I saw recently. Some are old friends, while certain others and I have never been properly introduced to others. Help with ID would be much appreciated.

Goldfinches, the Vegan Birds

Our Cup Plants (Silphium perfoliatum) are full of Goldfinches these days. Goldfinches love Cup Plant seeds. Also Echinacea seeds, Sunflower (Helianthus) seeds, and Thistle seed, among others. But of those 4, I only have Cup Plants.

Hummingbirds: Tiny, Feisty, and Fun to Watch

We’re seeing hummingbirds with greater frequency around the garden. I suppose they are getting ready for their migration to southern Mexico and Central America, where they spend the winter.

Monarch on Mexican Sunflower

My favorite butterfly on my favorite annual flower. That’s all.

A New Wren Family in the Birdhouse

So we have more wren babies in one of our birdhouses, this time the blue one near the west hedge of the Back Garden. Earlier today Judy was watching and taking pictures as the parents frantically tried to keep the nestlings fed. “I’m WAITING …”

A Summer Picnic for Pollinators

There was a lot of buzzing in the garden the other day, buzzing and fluttering. So I decided I would do a little pollinator post. Judy was out of town, though, so these pics are not be up to her usual quality.

Our First Home Grown Monarch Butterflies

So Judy and I just raised our first Monarch butterflies to adulthood. We were nervous about trying, but then we read that only about 5% of Monarch caterpillars in the wild make it to adulthood. We figured we could do better than that.

Birds, Butterflies, and Bison at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie

An hour’s drive southwest of Chicago is an 18,000-acre prairie preserve called Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (pronounced Mi-DAY-win). The preserve was created mostly out of lands that had belonged to the now-closed Joliet Army Ammunition Plant. Today the land is part of the U.S. Forest Service and is operated in partnership with the The Nature …

Monarch Caterpillars!

We believe strongly in doing our bit to help the Monarch butterfly, whose migrating population has declined about 90% in recent decades (you can read more about saving the Monarchs here). And so we have lots of Milkweed (Asclepias spp.), which is the only genus of host plants for Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars.

Another New Bird In The Garden

It’s been a rather wet, cold, and dismal weekend. One bright spot, though, was the sighting of another new avian visitor to the garden: the Red-headed Woodpecker. In fact, this was the first time either Judy or I had ever seen this particular bird, in the garden or out.